What Happens if I Get an F in College? 

College is a lot of hard work. And even though in an ideal world, you want to do well in all your courses, sometimes that just isn’t possible. Sometimes, college and coursework can get so overwhelming that you might even end up failing a particular course. In this article we shall see What Happens if I Get an F in College? 

If you get an F in a course in college, your biggest concern should be your GPA because it will definitely take a hit. F’s usually mean zero or one grade points and even if you’re an honors student, this will significantly lower your GPA. The immediate consequences of getting an F also vary depending on the course – if it’s a core course for your particular degree then you might have to retake the class until you get a passing grade or you won’t be able to graduate. An F grade will also show up on your transcript and that means that any future graduate schools will be able to view it and this could harm your chances of getting in. More serious repercussions could involve having your financial aid reduced or even revoked in the cases of multiple F grades. While getting an F is certainly no small deal, there are strategies you can employ to improve your GPA such as working harder in other courses so the better grades in them can compensate for your F. 

What Happens if I Get an F in College? 

Consequences of Getting an F

GPA is Negatively Affected 

Getting an F means getting zero grade points most of the time – this can drop your GPA by several points. Not only is a good GPA vital for graduate school, but a lot of your opportunities in college will also be affected. For example, a lot of schools have a GPA condition before allowing students to become teaching assistants. 

Your Chances of Getting into Graduate School are Harmed 

One of the first things a graduate school does is look at your transcript. An F will definitely raise a lot of questions and it might even dissuade grad schools from admitting you. These schools want students who are consistently hard-working and have demonstrated academic rigor throughout their college journeys – a student who failed an entire course doesn’t always fit into this definition. This is especially true if you’ve failed multiple courses. 

You’ll Have to Retake the Class

This one doesn’t apply to everyone but if the course you failed was a core for your degree then it applies to you. See, certain courses are vital parts of your degree and if you don’t pass them that means you don’t have a complete understanding of the area you’re majoring in. That’s why if you fail a core, you’ll have to retake it no matter what. 

You Could be Kicked Out 

Before you panic, this one only applies in the circumstances that you’ve failed multiple courses and it will not happen if you just failed one course. See, colleges value consistency and effort in their students and they don’t want to keep students who repeatedly fail courses and don’t show improvement. 

Your Financial Aid Could be Reduced

A lot of financial aid offers and grants are conditional. This means that they will only be paid if the student achieves a certain level of academic success – if your GPA sinks below this level then this can mean that your aid could either be significantly reduced or it might even be cancelled altogether. 

What to do if you Get an F in College?

Don’t Panic

College is very hard and sometimes no matter how hard you try, you can still end up doing badly on a course. Don’t freak out and don’t let your mental health suffer because of fear and stress. Remember, you’ll likely take dozens of courses over your four years of college and one bad grade doesn’t mean the end of the world. Forgive yourself and resolve to study even harder next time. 

Talk to Your Professor and Academic Advisor

Professors want you to do well in their courses and they’re usually pretty willing to help you out with any extra resources or help that you might need. If you fail a course, talk to the professor and ask them what you can do to improve the situation. Maybe they’ll allow you to retake the exam or they’ll assign you extra credit work that can save your grade. 

Most colleges also offer advisory services and you can always go to an advisor and ask them for assistance on how to improve your GPA after getting an F. 

Plan Ahead

So, you’ve failed a course and your GPA has taken a hit. This doesn’t mean that you still can’t graduate with an amazing GPA or receive an honors degree. Most universities have online tools to help you figure out what your GPA is with regards to your grades and credit hours. Use these tools to find out what grades you need to get in the future to counter the adverse effects of your F. 


Many colleges offer Pass/Fail options that allow students to remove the actual grade received for a course from their record and simply have ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’ written instead. If you suspect you’re possibly not going to do well in a particular course, you could use this option beforehand to avoid having an F on your transcript. 


If you’ve failed a course, yes it has significant consequences on your GPA and it could potentially harm your future academic plans. That’s why you should try your hardest to avail all possible resources to obtain a passing grade. 

However, sometimes it’s just not possible to pass a course no matter how hard you try. College is not a walk in the park and there will inevitably be courses that you just can’t seem to get the hang of. That’s why you should be kind to yourself, resolve to work harder in the future, and not fixate over one bad grade. Getting an F is not the end of the world, even if it may feel that way in the moment. 


Do I get full credit if I use the Pass/Fail option? 

If you pass a course and use this option then you get full credit for the course. However, if you fail a course then you do not get credit for taking that course. 

What GPA does an F get? 

This varies from university to university. However, in most cases getting an F means getting 0.0 grade points in a particular course. In other universities this might stretch up to getting between one to two grade points as well. 

Can I get into grad school if I got an F in college? 

Yes, you most probably can. This also depends on what course you got the F in. If it was a course that wasn’t related to the area you want to study in then you won’t really face any problems. If it was related to your future major then this can pose a bit more of a problem and you might have to explain yourself to the school.